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Sorry SBC in the above post refers to Scarborough Borough Council – I sometimes forget this is an international site and simply use local vernacular!
I agree that purely on architectural terms the Futurist is far from ideal – the problem is that anyone who knows SBC will also be aware that any replacement multiplex or theatre will be on the cheapest possible scale, multipurpose (and ideal for nothing) and will be to the detriment of the town.
The Spa is wholly inadequate as a theatre – either the theatre or Grand Hall – and as a listed building cannot be altered to the extent that would be needed to provide decent facilities – and it would cost even more that the Futurist!
You only have to look at Bridlingtons lamentable “Forum” cinemas (a place I absolutely refuse to add to Cinema Treasures) to imagine what Scarborough would get in place of the Futurist.
A shock report has been drawn up for the demolition of this cinema/theatre – against the conclusions of the consultants appointed to review the future of the building.
From the Scarborough Evening News 15 July 2005:–
[i]Shock demolition move
DEMOLITION plans for the Futurist Theatre on Scarborough seafront are being drawn up, it has been revealed.
A special report has been commissioned into the cost of knocking down the venue and not replacing it with a theatre.
The move comes months after consultants from ABL Cultural Consulting told the council that their preferred option was to save and redevelop the site.
Now regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, which is working with Scarborough Council on the proposed redevelopment of the theatre, has commissioned specialists to draw up the demolition report.
The option of demolishing the Futurist and redeveloping it would cost Â£10 million â€" that is half as much as keeping the building and redeveloping as a theatre.
Theatre operator Barrie Stead took over the running of the Futurist two years ago and has brought a host of comedians and musicians to the venue since then.
He said he is confident the historic seafront theatre will still be open next summer and that he wants to be involved after the redevelopment of the site.
Mr Stead has a contract to run the Futurist until the end of year but that could be extended and he has already started booking acts for next year.
He said: “We have established that there is an audience out there, and if the facilities were better then we would be able to book bigger acts and get bigger audiences.
“It looks to me as if it will be a couple of years before anything is decided and we would like to think the Futurist will still be there next summer. We would love to be there after the redevelopment.
“My connections with Scarborough and the Futurist go back 20 years. I love Scarborough and so does my wife Brenda and we want to be part of the future of the Futurist.”
The demolition and redevelopment of the Futurist Theatre site into a leisure complex including a multi-screen cinema, restaurants, hotel and other leisure activities such as bowling or a fitness centre is estimated to cost Â£10 million
The second option to retain the current Futurist auditorium and revamp the building, incorporating all the same attractions as the first plan would cost Â£20 million.
The redevelopment plans are still being hindered by businessman Peter Lee’s refusal to sell the Mermaid complex to Scarborough Council has made for his property.
The council needs to buy the Mermaid in order to get complete ownership of the Futurist site. Without it, any plans to demolish the Futurist and build a leisure complex including a multi-screen cinema, or to retain the building and give it a major overhaul, will stay on the backburner.
Mr Lee’s refusal to sell makes it impossible for the site to be redeveloped, and although he could be forced to sell the legal process could include a public inquiry and take up to two years to complete.
Scarborough Council officers will tell members of the council’s land and property overview and scrutiny committee, who meet on Tuesday, that more work is needed before decisions on the future of the site are made.
In a report to councillors, the council’s head of property services Graham Price says: “An economic feasibility and viability report on the development is being carried out by consultants and their report is imminent. This will add more information and enable more informed decisions to be made on the components of the redevelopment to achieve the best balance between commercial and subsidised elements."
15 July 2005
I too have had trouble finding any details. It certainly looks like a former cinema, two photos of the Blackburn Hall and one of the Palace can be seen here :
If anyone can help with further information please let us know!
If you are ever in Dublin the Camden de Luxe hotel is a very comfortable (and sensibly priced) place to stay. The hotel rooms have been added to the right hand side and above the auditorium. The ground floor foyer remains intact giving access to the restuarant in the former stalls area – with much of the plasterwork retained. The nightclub is on the first floor and the snooker hall on the second. This is the area of greatest interest as, although now a flat floor (on two levels from approximately the level of the rear of the balcony, stepped down about halfway down the auditorium) it retains all of its very elborate plasterwork on the barrel vaulted and segmented roof and side walls. It is in immaculate condition.
There is also a full fly tower on the De Luxe (now also partially converted to bedrooms) which has unfortunately resulted in the proscenium arch being filled in.
The Odeon Leicester Square incorrectly claims the “largest in Europe” tag – Scarborough’s Futurist holds 2155, although a full house for a film is unknown!
Photos can be seen at
taken the day before opening, Thursday 14 April 2005.
The Rozen has just had its interior gutted and rebuilt as an adaptable black box theatre. The opening was held last weeked – 15/16 April 2005. The stained glass windows and the facade remain intact but inside everything is new, with no reference to the previous layout.
Recent pictures of the interior can be viewed at
there was no electricity in the derelict and partially stripped out building so the quality is not great – but the unique balcony, the screen frame and some idea of the decor can be gained.
Following 111 objections the planning application to turn the Picture Playhouse into retail use was refused. The owner is to appeal against the decision.
As I am not sure how long the Lounge website will remain, I have copied the closing statement :–
The Lounge cinema, one of the best known leisure institutions in Headingley, has been closed down by itâ€™s owners, Associated Tower Cinemas (ATC), following declining attendances and mounting losses after a tough five years. The closure has resulted in the redundancy of three full time employees, and some part time employees. In a statement issued today (10 January) ATC said that the closure was a sad blow for the company and its employees involved. The Lounge has been losing money for over five years. We simply cannot compete against the newer Multiplex cinemas and what they have to offer. At this stage ATC has no alternative plans for the Lounge site and they are seeking an urgent meeting with planners and local councilors to discuss how it can be redeveloped. ATCâ€™s other smaller Cottage Road cinema in Headingley is not currently affected by this decision but its future is being reviewed as to its long term viability. For further information please contact: Malcolm Cowing at Brahm Public Relations on 0113 230 4000 or 07770 512266
Sadly the Lounge closed suddenly in January 2005.Competition from 3 multiplex cinemas in the vicinity finally forced the single screen Lounge out of business. Tragic!
The theatre has recently undergone further upgrading prior to the opening of “Mary Poppins”. Additional toilets, enlarged bars and a unique outdoor extension to the Dress Circle bar over the theatre canopy overlooking Compton Street will be a boon in the Summer.
The building, so long unsuccessful, is now (arguably) Londons pre-eminent house for large scale musicals.
I think you may be confusing the Curzon / Classic with the Embassy further up the Western Road but across the border into Hove. The Curzon was totally demolished around 1979 and has been replaced by the Waitrose supermarket. The Embassy, part of the Miles Byrne circuit of cinema closed as a cinema in the early 1980’s, became the Black Cat bingo hall, then a pine furniture shop and has more recently become an amusement arcade.
Hilarie – Sorry only just seen your comment. Have no other pics (but like Joel I could take some for you). The one above is slightly cut-down in size. Send your e-mail address to
As predicted – when I drove past yesterday the demolition crew had been and gone, along with this once fine cinema. I do not know if any of the surviving features were salvaged before the bulldozers moved in. A small housing estate is in the course of erection.
Following a tour of this building yesterday, it appears to be even more interesting than previously thought. It was built for the church as a way of raising money (the nearby St Peters had a similar scheme with the Tivoli). The stalls floor has been levelled and a false ceiling put in at balcony level. This part of the building is now a plain meeting room. However above this everything is intact, from the plasterwork on the walls to the projection room (empty) and a delightful single box at the rear of the balcony. Narrow corridors, tiny little payboxes positioned in the centre of a door and an open trussed ceiling all remain – largely unseen for decades.
After the partial collapse of the ceiling in 2003 (the 150th anniversay of the hall), the auditorium has now been restored and is in splendid shape. The Hall is well used for concerts, comedy and even opera and is destined to be a part of the cultural life of Bradford for years to come.
Following the news that the Odeon auditorium was not a viable proposition to restore, but the facade and two towers would be incorporated into a new building, comes the sad news that the steelwork is a) in a poor condition and b) intricately linked to the steel frame of the rest of the building. It therefore seems likely that the entire building will now be demolished. (November 2004)
The Picture Playhouse closed in 2003 and is very likely to be stripped out and converted into retail space. At present (October 2004) the stage, screen and front stalls seats have been removed, and a planning application is almost certain to approve the removal of the balcony and change of use to retail.
Call the box office on 00 44 1423 502116 from outside the UK or 01423 502116 from in the UK
It is a complex and cumbersome mechanism which provides only limited protection. A fair description of the listing process can be found at
Sadly there are too many occasions of a developer either appealling against the original listing and getting a building de-listed (Odeon Newcastle Upon Tyne) or allowing (assisting) a building to deteriorate to the point where demolition is the only viable option.
For rav :–
Sorry – did not see your comment until now – is it too late? Contact me on
Visiting Hull on 7th June 2004 I was surprised to see the Cannon is still standing – the demolition crew are working but little progress seems to have been made on the cinema. – the adjoining shops however have gone giving a side view of the cinema never before seen.
Thanks for taking and posting the sad images Andy – this was certainly one which should not have fallen, one of the very few distinguished buildings left in Salford.